Pandemic promotes Sino-foreign communications, unleashing Chinese innovative vitality

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As the global pandemic continues to escalate, industries are now facing unprecedented challenges. Today, Wuxi International Life Science Innovation Campus (I·Campus), UK Bioindustry Association (BIA) and AstraZeneca co-hosted a webinar, inviting British and Chinese experts in the fields of life sciences, healthcare, financial investment and government together to discuss challenges and opportunities caused by the pandemic. Participants of the webinar all agreed that addressing the epidemic urgently requires international cooperation in the field of life sciences, which provides new projects and development opportunities for business growth in this field.

Local government officials including Gao Yaguang, deputy mayor of Wuxi, Jiangsu, Zhu Xiaohong, deputy director of Wuxi Hi-tech Zone Management Community and deputy director of Xinwu District of Wuxi, as well as industry experts including Steve Bates, CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association, Dr. Ye Xiaoping, founder and chairman of Tigermed, Christian Hogg, CEO of Hutchison MediPharma, Dr. Hong Zhi, co-founder and CEO of Brii Biosciences, and Guo Rongrong, executive general manager of the Investment Banking Department at CICC, joined the webinar. They were joined by Leon Wang, executive vice president, international and China president of AstraZeneca, and Tina Xu, vice president of AstraZeneca China and head of Digital and Commercial Innovation. Over 350 representatives from companies all over the world joined online.

During thewebinar, guests from China and overseas all agreed that with the pandemic has come even greater demands on the life sciences industry. Addressing the industrial impact of COVID-19 and seizing new opportunities indigital healthcare, industrial integration and internationalization following the pandemic have now become pressing challenges. Guests actively participated in the online discussion, together concluding that given the current situation, the world should work together to address the crisis. They also expressed their confidence in the Chinese market’s post-pandemic rebound. In addition, attendees asserted their belief that the high-level of innovation currently taking place in China will further inject vitality into the life sciences industry worldwide.

Gao Yaguang, deputy mayor of Wuxi, noted that, “the pandemic has raised awareness across the country on the importance of the life science industry. The impact of the pandemic has brought both challenges and opportunities to enterprises in the life sciences industry. Wuxi will continue to focus on the construction of the life sciences industrial chain and continue to create superior business environment for the development of life sciences industrial clusters. In the meantime, we will constantly introduce high-quality programs from domestic and abroad, providing services platform to benefit more companies.”

As one of the hosts of the webinar, I·Campusis another global strategic platform developed by Wuxi for the creation of abiopharmaceutical industrial cluster. Leveraging its strategic importance in the Yangtze River Delta region, Wuxi has attracted and nurtured a number of leading companies with its open-minded cosmopolitan spirit and high-quality business environment. The life sciences industry in Wuxi, led by biopharmaceuticals, has become a powerful engineforthe global industrial chain. I·Campus was co-established by the Wuxi municipal government, the government of the National Hi-tech District of Wuxi, and AstraZeneca in 2019. Asan international starting point, I·Campus covers the entire life sciences cycle, aiming to accelerate the incubation and adoptionof global innovations in China. Since its opening last September, I·Campus has quickly gained attention among many domestic and overseas innovative enterprises, bringing onboard 17 companies in the fields of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, devices, digitalization and other cutting-edgeareas of scientific research. Facing the pandemic, I·Campushas managed to remain full of vitality. According to Gao Yaguang, deputy mayor of Wuxi, the Wuxi National Hi-tech District has actively conducted a series of initiativesto help life sciences enterprises registered at the I·Campus toget through the pandemic. On one hand, government has ensured safe and continuous production during the pandemic, resulting in 90% of work resumption underway so far. On the other hand, the administration is trying their best to support companies in difficulties with raw materials and connecting product sales channels, helping to protect life sciences companies and encourage their survival through the pandemic. Ms. Gao Yaguang expressed her wishes for the future: “I hope that I·Campus will become a leading incubation platform for outstanding life sciences companies around the globe.”

As an overseas strategic partner of Wuxi International Life Sciences Innovation Campus, Mr.SteveBates, CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association, said that thepandemic has accelerated innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. “It was a pleasure to be part of today’s discussion and to see China’s continuous vitality in life sciences. It was fascinating to hear how companies in China have responded to COVID-19 and it is clear we need to learn from international partners and create global solutions for this epidemic.” Mr. Bateswent on to say that, “We believe that in the future, more and more innovation companies from domestic and abroad will land in China and achieve their results through the platform of Wuxi International Life Science Innovation Campus.”

Speaking of seizingonupcoming opportunities after the pandemic, Dr. Ye Xiaoping, founder and chairman of Tigermed, who leads one of the first batch of registered companies in I·Campus, said it is more important than ever for the world to work together in responseto the crisis, given the shockfelt by every industry. “As an open platform, Wuxi International Life Science Innovation Campus introduces international concepts and practices to industries in China, and is expected to incubate new local models for export to overseas in the future, opening up more paths for the sustainable development of life sciences.”

As a co-developer of Wuxi International Life Science Innovation Campus, AstraZeneca has been continuously committed to building a global life science innovation ecosystem in China. Leon Wang, executive vice president, international and China president of AstraZeneca said that AstraZeneca hopes to join hands with governments and multinational cross-sector forces, helping to contribute more ideas on the sustainable development of the life sciences industry under the pandemic by supporting the webinar. “We have witnessed the swift responsiveness of the Chinese government during the pandemic. With the strong support of the government, our production and innovation bases in Wuxi, as well as I·Campus,were never halted due to the pandemic. We believe that after the pandemic subsides, industries in China will quickly rebound and unleash their great potential for continuous innovation. We hope to keep leveraging Wuxi’s innovative environment and policy advantages and helping tobuilda global innovative hub which will contribute to the improvement of human health by forming a unifying pointfor global life sciences.”

Earlier in March this year, AstraZeneca organized a series of live webinars on the topic of COVID-19 for tens of thousands of doctors and world-class health experts worldwide, providing firm support for the world in the fight against the pandemic. Leading experts from multiple countries including China, Japan, Italy, Singapore, Germany, France, Spain, the United States, Canada, Australia and Brazil shared their front-line experiences in fighting the virus during the live broadcast. Speakers included Zhong Nanshan, a renowned academic from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Professor Zhang Wenhong, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University.

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